Book, Magazine & Newspaper Wholesaling in the US Industry Market Research Report from IBISWorld has Been Updated

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Competition from online content and digital media will continue to strengthen, inhibiting growth for wholesalers of printed books, magazines and newspapers. While the industry’s decline has been gradual, a trend toward wholesale bypass, in which retailers source products directly from manufacturers, will continue to weigh on industry demand. With the industry losing its relevance, operators are expected to either shift into more logistic-oriented management or exit the industry altogether. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated a report on the Book, Magazine & Newspaper Wholesaling industry in its growing industry report collection.

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The adoption of digital media and increasing wholesale bypass will hinder industry demand

The Book, Magazine and Newspaper Wholesaling industry has been shrinking over the past five years. Poor economic conditions, which decreased consumer disposable income levels, hurt demand for discretionary products like printed books, magazines and newspapers. This trend negatively affected demand and revenue for industry wholesalers. At the same time, according to IBISWorld industry analyst Kevin Boyland, “ongoing consumer substitution of digital media for printed products has been a persistent, albeit gradual, threat to the industry.” For this reason, the industry’s most prominent players like Baker & Taylor Corporation and Ingram Industries have increasingly shifted focus toward digital products and services and away from industry operations.

Even as overall demand for books has fallen over the past five years, demand for high-margin textbooks increased as more unemployed people during the recession enrolled in higher education. Growth in this segment served to offset drastic declines in revenue. As a result, over the five years to 2012, industry revenue is expected to decrease at a modest annualized rate of 0.8% to $31.1 billion. Revenue is expected to inch up 0.5% in 2012 as improving economic conditions raise demand for printed books and magazines.

“As the middlemen in the supply chain, wholesalers are increasingly being bypassed as upstream publishers and downstream retailers cut costs amid falling demand,” says Boyland. This trend, known as wholesale bypass, is becoming more prevalent every day as book publishers sell directly to book retailers and end users through their websites or online retailers and wholesalers (which are not included in this industry). In an attempt to retain business from retailers, wholesalers have had to keep prices low, sacrificing profit. As of now, the Book, Magazine and Newspaper Wholesaling industry exhibits a low level of concentration, with no single player holding a significant share of the market. This level of industry concentration is on the rise, however, as larger player increasingly seek to acquire smaller companies to lower costs, and unsuccessful firms exit the industry. Over the five years to 2012, the number of industry participants is expected to decline 2.3% per year on average.

Despite a forecast recovery in the economy, the industry is not expected to grow over the next five years. Over the five years to 2017, revenue is forecast to continue shrinking, though at a slower pace. While improved consumer spending will likely lead to a moderate boost in demand for printed magazines and books, the increasing number of Americans obtaining their information and reading material online is not expected to slow. Many consumers already have access to hundreds of thousands of e-books (books in digital form that can be read from mobile devices) and other digital media at the click of a button. As these devices continue to become more widespread, more consumers are expected to migrate toward digital formats and away from print. For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Book, Magazine & Newspaper Wholesaling in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

This industry includes firms primarily engaged in book, magazine, newspaper and periodical distribution and wholesaling. Map, pamphlet and antique book distributers and wholesalers are also included in this industry, while online and other paper product distributors or wholesalers are excluded.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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